Grand Blanc woman wins $1 million in COVID-19 vaccine sweepstakes

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The $1 million winner and two $50,000 winners of the MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes were announced Wednesday morning.

LaTonda Anderson of Grand Blanc won the $1 million drawing. She received her vaccine in the spring at Flint Northwestern High School. Sweepstakes organizers told her she won the $1 million by surprising her at home.

She said she encourages everyone to get vaccinated.

“In my opinion, it’s the ultimate act of unselfishness to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” Anderson said in a prerecorded video statement released Wednesday. “Every time I talk to someone, I’m always encouraging them to get vaccinated. What is it going to hurt?”

Anderson said after taxes she plans on donating some of her winnings as well as paying off some loans.

Tim Meadows, a Highland Park native and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, announced the two $50,000 winners.

The first $50,000 winner is Jenna Basaj, a full-time nanny from Madison Heights on the eastside of state. She was vaccinated on July 5 at the Meijer in Sterling Heights and also drawn as the winner that same day.

“I got my vaccine because after going through COVID and being away from my family and the kids I nanny for so long I realized I wanted to keep myself and family as safe as possible,” she said in a prerecorded video statement released Wednesday.   

The second winner is Paul Bareno of Rockford. He received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the Family Fare in Rockford on July 6. He said planned on using his prize money on some home improvement projects and a much-needed vacation.

As of Monday, the state said more than 2 million people entered the sweepstakes to win cash prizes and more than 90,000 young people ages 12 to 17 entered to win one of nine college scholarships.

To enter for your chance to win, you can go to mishottowin.com or call the Michigan COVID-19 hotline at 888.535.6136 and press 1. Those between the ages of 12 and 17 must be registered by a parent.

The goal of the sweepstakes is to increase the state’s vaccination rate to 70% of residents age 16 and older. As of Monday, the state said 62.7% of Michigan residents — or more than 5 million people — age 16 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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